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Comment from: Lisa, 65-74 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: November 04

I have tried Arimidex and switched over to Aromasin because I became so depressed.At first I tolerated it better but now the same symptoms are appearing.Depression, nausea, fatigue. I am 68 and wonder if I need to take anything to make me feel so lousy or am better off taking my chances. Anybody out there with similar experiences?

Related Reading: arimidex | aromasin | depression

Comment from: Nancy-O, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: October 05

I am in my 1st 6 mos. of using Aromasin after 2 & 1/2 yrs on Tamoxafin. I am dealing with significant joint and bone pain (which is like a throbbing tooth ache, and am limited in physical activities because it hurts to move. I keep telling myself I can do it for the prescribed 2 & 1/2 yrs, but sometimes I have trouble feeling positive about the idea. I'm 64, and I really hope that when I'm done with all of this, I will still be "young" enough to feel good and begin enjoying an active lifestyle again.

Comment from: just say no, 45-54 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: August 23

After 18 months on Aromasin. I have suffered memory loss, brain fog, painful joints knees. It is intolerable . I'd rather take my "chances" drug free than go on like this. I have quit for 2 weeks now feel 1000% better. These comments are very helpful.

Comment from: Eleanor, 55-64 on Treatment for 5-10 years Published: May 22

I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2000 - had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. Because I had 1 positive lymphnode my oncologist put me on tamoxofen for 5 yrs, then aromasin. It has been 10 yrs & they still have me on the aromasin. One the one hand, I'm afraid to stop for fear I will have a recurrence, but on the other hand, I have all the symptoms I am reading about from others on the drug: terrible trouble sleeping, extreme lethargy, such pain in my shoulders it wakes me when I turn over in the night, swollen joints in some of my toes so that I can't wear a lot of my shoes, brain in a fog and depression. I was beating myself up and thinking I must be crazy before I read these posts! Is the joint pain due to cartilege being destroyed by the drug? Why don't they tell you any of this when they prescribe the drug?! The last thing any bc survivor needs is to feel like she is imagining all these problems!!!

Related Reading: breast cancer | aromasin | depression

Comment from: spanielmom, 45-54 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: March 20

I was on Femara first for 6 months. I had so much joint pain, I thought I was 90 years old. Oncologist put me on Aromasin. Within 3 months I had the same joint pain. I started experimenting taking the drug every other day. Taking it this way allowed me to function with little to no joint pain. My Oncologist didn't like the idea, but after running some tests to determine that my hormone levels were where he wanted them, I have continued for 5 years taking it every other day. I have some numbness in my fingers especially on very hot humid days, or very cold days. I too have experienced the depression, but since taking a Super B-Complex vitamin and 4000 IU's of vitamin D every day, we seem to have gotten that under control. I've also experienced the hot flashes, but have managed to get them under control by limiting the amount of sugar in my diet. If I eat a bunch of sugary things like cake and cookies etc. I know to expect the hot flashes. If I eat healthy foods, I do not experience hot flashes. My struggle with this drug is a total lack of sexual desire. This has put a huge strain on my marriage.

Related Reading: femara | vitamin d | hot flashes

Comment from: RuthDV, 45-54 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: February 25

Diagnosed with stage 1 bilateral BC (estrogen receptor positive), April 2010 (Lobular AND ductal carcinoma.) Double Mastectomy, reconstruction, hysterectomy ... all last year. Onc. put me on Tamoxifen in June ... TERRIBLE side-effects including severe depression. Tried Femara in the fall, but same side-effects. Switched to Aromasin in Dec., so am going on my 3rd month now. Side effects have been milder until now, but I am starting to have terrible problems with hand/finger numbness. Joint pain isn't as severe as with other drugs, but is still bad enough, so I wonder if I can take this for 5 years. Weight-gain and hot-flashes are terrible too, and I suddenly developed heel-bone-spurs shortly after starting all this medication ... my feet still hurt so badly, I can't walk without pain, so naturally, I have gained a lot of weight. But my biggest question is: Will the damage done to my joints due to this medication be permanent, even after the 5 years are over with? If so, I can't afford that risk. I'm a fine artist, and fear the total loss of feeling in my hands someday, as well as finger joints that no longer function! There was NO CANCER in my lymph-nodes and my tumors were small ... so why do I even need this? My Mom is a 19-yr. BC survivor now (stage 1, single mastectomy), and never had ANY of this medication! (Also ... how do you respond to others' comments on here, and can other people respond to my comment?? I can't figure out how to do that ... so I question whether or not there is even a way to get answers from others.) I really am trying to hang in there ... but I'm only 50, and feel 90. My frequent comment to others is "they take the cancer out of you ... and remove body parts ... and then they try to KILL you with the medication!" I'm usually a very positive, happy person ... but this is ruining my life, and my outlook.

Related Reading: tamoxifen | cancer

Comment from: Janice, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: July 10

on Arimdex and Aromasin had joint pain,fatigue,weight gain, hair loss plus more. talked to my Dr not the oncologist. told him if felt the quality of life was more important to me than quantity. He said the meds do not cure or keep the cancer from returning if you are going to get a re-occurance it only slows the progress of it. I have quit taking the meds and I feel so much better and decided if the cancer returns I will deal with it then but for now I am feeling great, the pain and fatigue, etc has gone away so am very pleased. I decided feeling good and enjoying my family now is worth the chance. The Dr agreed with me.

Related Reading: aromasin | fatigue | hair loss

Comment from: Sunny2, 45-54 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: November 25

I have been on this medication about 6 months and I hate it. My joints ache constantly and I'm having a hard time sleeping. It is also very expensive. My Dr. wants me to get exercise most days and maintain my weight which I am trying to do. I will keep taking it because I don't want to lose my cancer battle but the side effects are very hard.

Related Reading: cancer

Comment from: 55-64 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: May 02

Started with Arimedex and quit taking it after 7 weeks. Could not tolerate the side effects..joint pain especially in knees and hips my shoulders and back were so painful I could hardly walk, the bottoms of my feet felt like they were on fire..I felt exhausted, with extreme fatigue from the moment I got up in the morning..I had terrible insomnia and was very depressed. My dr. told me I could not and should not go without any treatment so he put me on aromasin(exemestane)..This drug took about 13 weeks to really kick in as far as the side effects. At one point I thought I was not going to have any but then they started.. Almost all of the same side effects are there except for the burning on the bottoms of my feet (instead I have a spot on my thigh that feels like someone is holding a hot iron on my leg). The depression comes and goes and I never know when it is going to hit. My memory is very bad..I read and work at brain puzzles hoping to help my memory. Recently my left wrist started hurting and the pain has escalated to the point where I feel like it is broken..but i know it is not it just feels like it. With all that said I have been on it 9 months and wonder if I any of this damage is reversible. My heart goes out to all of you ladies who are suffering so much with this drug..and we don't even know if it is going to keep the cancer from coming back. I have in all of this experience started to eat a plant based diet, lots of raw organic fruits and vegetables and started juicing hoping to help my body naturally heal itself to eventually get off of this drug. It is risky but so is taking the drug especially when we have no guarantees it is going to work. Praying for you all, I don't know who you are but God does. God bless

Related Reading: insomnia | aromasin | exemestane

Comment from: bloominlovelylady, 65-74 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: November 12

I had breast cancer in January 2009 and had a lumpectomy in June 2009. I have been on Aromasin for14 months and have been told i have to take it for 5 years in total,I have constant pain in my joints and the thought of taking it for the required time horrifies me. Hoping that when i see the Doctor she will change the medication. My resricted movement is spoiling my life.

Related Reading: breast cancer

Comment from: Mimi, 55-64 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: February 18

Was dxd with stage one breast cancer in May of 2007 at the age of 56. At first I was on Arimidex. Joint pain, hot flashes, night sweats made my life miserable. I did not take anything for 3 weeks(life was wonderful) then was put on Aromasin. I have been on this drug since July of 2008. At first the joint pain was bad, but has seemed to level off somewhat the last few months. I try to walk every day or every other day and keep busy. I would love to be able to wear my rings again and be able to walk normal after sitting for a while. Also the night sweats are annoying. All in all not a good experience taking these drugs, but they do seem to be working so far. Stick with it if you can!!

Related Reading: arimidex | hot flashes | night sweats

Comment from: cindhos, 45-54 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: January 10

I have experienced numbness in my hands and feet, which my oncology office said was not a side effect of this med, now I learn from this website that it is. I also have very stiff joints and swelling in my legs and hands, pain in my wrists, and all around low energy.


A lump in the breast is almost always cancer. See Answer
Comment from: Vivian, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: October 06

Hi all been reading your feedback. I am in same boat as those who are wondering what would happen, would it be detrimental to stop taking these drugs. I was prescribed tamaxifen then told not to take it. I was then given Arimedex and suffered severe fatigue breathlessness, felt like 100 couldnt make it up the stairs, it was very distressing.Got worse quickly, couldnt wash hair,lift anything, drive the ripple affect -you can imagine. Stopped taking them and breathing improved dramatically. Was given Femera, this was just as bad, sweats and lack of sleep equally bad, but seemed better at first two weeks but third week the scary breathlessnes returned and I stopped taking them. suffered for three weeks AFTER stopping this drug. Now Dr wants me to take aromasin, and like other ladies, I just starting to feel a little normal for first time in 9 months, and am afraid to take them. Quality oflife is important to and when you read that it does not prevent return if your susceptable but only slows it down it does make you wonder. I too felt guilty about not taking them- so what are we to do one dr thinks quality life equally important -another says vital to take the drugs. I had early estrogen fed breast cancer very small lobular infiltrating. nothing in nodes. lumptecomy and radiation -similar to other ladies so is the risk worth the damage these drugs appear to cause?? I too would have liked a space to enable us to respond to blogs and feedback. thanks for listening to my rant , warm wishes I have to take these drugs for seven weeks and report back to onocologist- and I am afraid to take them!!!feel guilty if I dont.

Related Reading: fatigue | aromasin | breast cancer

Comment from: Margo, 65-74 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: November 30

I took Arimidex for 26 months and had terrible side effects;joint, muscle pain, fatigue,weight gain. I switched to Aromasin and have been on it 3 1/2 months. At first it seemed much better but I have ended up in the ER twice with severe anxiety attacks. Left arm goes numb or tingly, no strength in legs, loss of memory, thinning hair and weight loss. I don't know if I will continue or quit - I meet with my oncologist in January for my 3 year review. I am 69 years old and I think I would rather have my happy, productive life back even if it's shorter.

Related Reading: arimidex | aromasin | anxiety

Comment from: Bonnie A. , 65-74 (Patient) Published: January 20

I think I may have IBS, because when I took formerally the Arimidex and then the Aromasin I took it for about 3 weeks then I started getting all these hot flashes,diarrea,(bloody the last time), and bad sinus congestions, and since being off the pill for just one week I am feeling very much better. I just don`t want to feel like that, because it is really hard for me. I am due back at my oncologist dr. in early Feb. for more blood work so I will see what he says for me then. I am staying off till I see him. I did have to have Chemo, just 6 weeks of radiation, alongwith the breast surgery, there wasnt any cancer in the lymps, or tumors anywhere. But I just cant take these anticancer pills, the side affects are dreadfull for me. Thanks for listening. Bonnie

Related Reading: hot flashes | cancer

Comment from: Marti, 55-64 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: October 05

First diagnosed w/breast cancer in 1997. Lumpectomies, chemo and radiation. Twelve years's back. In 2009 double mastectomy w/tram flap reconstruction. On Femara for one year, terrible muscle and joint pain. Switched to Aromasin and after 6 months have severe knee pain, at times I can't walk. Terrible hot flashes and sweating also a problem, now I realize the "brain fog" is a possible side effect! I stopped taking it yesterday and the knee pain is already better. I will see my oncologist in a month, I truly think I want to go the all natural way. No more drugs....I want to feel good and enjoy life at 55.

Related Reading: femara | knee pain

Comment from: Sheila, 45-54 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: February 27

I have been on this treament for 6 months now. I was taking Tomoxifen for 2 years prior with hardly any side affects. Since taking Aromasin i now feel like 92 instead of 52. My legs, arms and neck hurt so much now,i'm finding it so difficult with the joint pain even to get out of a chair or the car. My next visit to the breast nurse is in June and i am going to ask to come off these tablets. Good luck to you all.

Comment from: 35-44 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: March 24

This has cause a lot of pain. I have gain a lot of weight, my good arm went numb, my feet feel like I'm walking on hot nails. my face swells, and so dose my feet.

Comment from: Anh, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: February 23

I'm 59, BC, stage 1, operated in Aug 2011, took Arimidex for a week, it caused me terrible stomach cramps because I am intolerated to lactose; so my Dr switched me to Aromasin for 3.5 months now. I now experience stiff and some pain in hands joints, night and day. I do exercice, practice and teach Tai Chi & Qigong everyday, the hand joints problem persist. I don't want to live with this problem for 5 years more. I'll see the Dr in 3 mths, consider the possibility of stop taking theses pills. Is there any of you who stops the med and OK afterward? i.e no cancer recurrence.

Related Reading: arimidex | aromasin | cancer

Comment from: Keirra, 55-64 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: July 26

I was 61 y.o. when diagnosed 8/18/09 with breast cancer. Had lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy (nodes neg. for cancer)followed by 31 rx's w/radiation. Took Femara for 6 hellish months, told my Oncologist that it was sucking out the quality of my life; and she had me come off it for about 5 wks to clear it out of my system. I was given the choice of not taking anything (which I thought was a huge risk) or filling the prescription she gave me for Aromasin, which I eventually did. During the time i took no drugs, I did feel much improved; but it may have been more psychological, rather than physical. Now after being on Aromasin for 2 months, all the familiar symptoms have returned, including swollen joint in my R.big toe which my GP diagnosed as Gout...NOT! When the bloodwork results came in my uric acid level was well w/in normal range. After 2 1/2 wks. all the imflammation and swelling went away and I can walk normal again. I'm not sure what to do from here, I hate that the drugs seem to hasten the aging process, along with all the other symptoms many of you have already mentioned; but I am not considering going down that surgery/radiation road again and want to do all I can to prevent cancer reoccuring. BTW, I have found 5-HTP helpful in holding off depression. It is a natural mood elevator that boosts seratonin levels and can be found in most healthfood stores. I am also on a good vit/min regimen that does much to strengthen my immune system. There really is much one can do beside relying heavily on just the prescribed drugs.

Related Reading: breast cancer | femara | gout

Comment from: [email protected], 65-74 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: December 30

I have joint pain in the hands, knees, and shoulders. At night, I'm often waked by hand pain and numbness. During the day, the hand pain persists, and I also having difficulty standing from a kneeling position.

Comment from: Forgetful, 55-64 on Treatment for 5-10 years (Patient) Published: March 25

I had lumpectomy with chemo and radiation 6 years ago. Took Tamoxifen for 2 years, and Aromasin for the past 4 years. Have experienced stiff joints, weak wrists, hand swelling, lethargy, depression, vision blurryness and most troubling--memory loss and general "brain fog". It has affected my ability to do my job, and my family quit expecting me to remember anything a long time ago! I've thought all this time that it was a side effect of the chemo, but now I know there is hope that I can feel better after reading all these comments. Wish I had found this web site sooner. Saw my Oncologist yesterday, and plan to stop Aromasin right away. I don't see the value of living longer, if I'm in a fog for the rest of my life. Thanks for your comments!

Related Reading: tamoxifen | depression

Comment from: 55-64 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: July 09

After 2 1/2 years on Tamoxifen, I have been on Aromasin for 3 years with plans to stay on a full five. I have a definite weight gain but after the misery of hot flashes, etc. with Tamoxifen, this is great. I too have fatigue at times and some joint discomfort, but I am alive to feel it and that is the bottom line for me.

Related Reading: hot flashes | fatigue

Comment from: dsmith, 45-54 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: June 26

Has it worked? Yes, no recurrance; is it easy to use? Yes, one little pill a day; overall satisfaction? dissapointing. I am at the end of the 5 yr therapy, and have endured pain and fatigue the entire time. The past 6 months have revealed now that I have some severe short-term memory loss (to the point of forgetting that my daughter-in-law was pregnant!), confusion, and I've been wondering if the Effexor is even working. Will see a neurologist to see if progression can be stopped. Congrats to all the survivors out there, and thanks for sharing - I wasn't aware of the many serious side effects and literally thought I might be going crazy. My oncologist has taken me off it immediately, since in my case, the side effects DON'T outweigh the risks!

Related Reading: effexor


Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment See Slideshow
Comment from: micky, 55-64 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: March 10

I've been taking Aromasin for almost 3 yrs now. I do not know if it has been effective or not, I have no signs of a recurrence. What I have developed in the last 6 months is severe depression, which has not been helped by medications. Also am experiencing severe anxiety and hot flashes that are more frequent than while taking Tamoxifen. Depression has been treated with Wellbutrin with Cymbalta, then Wellbutrin 200 mg twice a day with some anxiety meds also. Nothing is stopping me from crying every day. My oncologist just shakes her head, like this is all normal. I tend to disagree as I was always an upbeat person before this. I can't imagine why it is so much worse in the past 6 months.

Related Reading: aromasin | depression | anxiety

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

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